In this second bloc (now reduced to 16 participants) we want the group to keep working with the issue of collaborative processes, but this time from a common questioning standpoint (an approach positioned between the “absence of a previous question” explored in the first bloc and the existence of an “individual question” to be explored in the third bloc).
This is an issue that has occupied João Fiadeiro’s practice since the 1990’s and that in a certain way was the reason why a tool like Real Time Composition began being developed. At the time the ambition was to develop a common language that enabled a shared experimentation field but without letting that language restrict us (condemn us) into following a previously established direction (usually dictated by the author). But at the same time we weren’t interested in developing an exclusively horizontal experience because we knew that simply removing the author from the equation wouldn’t stop the power structures, now implicit, from taking hold of the narrative.
What we found is that there is a colossal difference in the way this “diagonal strategy” of addressing collaboration is applied if we are facing the perspective of an individual decision (as when improvising or even in solo work) or that of an collective decision (as it happens in group projects). While at the individual level the “matter of the affect” can remain in the shadow, protected from light and labeling (and afford the luxury of only revealing itself at the end), at the collective level if the affect (what moves and connects us) is not shared at the beginning of the collaborative process then group dynamics can easily fall into conflictual or submissive modes of relation. What we strive for is the creation of conditions for relations based on “reciprocal” approaches to be formed and, along the way, to deactivate binary logics where one either tries to convince someone else of its opinion or subjugates itself to theirs. A reciprocal relationship implies that we share “the affect” and the forces at play at the moment of our encounter (by definition vulnerable, incomplete and fragile). It implies that we listen and pay attention to the (weak) signals that the event is sending us. In one sentence: implies accepting that we do not know (together).
How to identify, circumscribe and share a collective affect in a way that we can then work the relation and the encounter? And how is it possible to create a shared vital force that allows the finished work to translate an unrest which is transversal to everyone and not a patchwork of tendencies, desires and disperse questioning?
These questions will be the starting point for the research in the second bloc. They will be placed and managed mainly by the voices (and the bodies) of those that have experienced first-hand the tension between authorship, authority, authorization and autonomy: the performers and co-creators of the group works. This research period will then be exclusively mediated by Márcia Lança and Carolina Campos with the occasional presence of João Fiadeiro. Not only did Márcia and Carolina had central roles in the creation of the RE.AL’s group pieces but, in recent years, they have been working together in co-authorship on different projects where these questions occupy a prominent place.
The results of the research developed in this bloc will also be presented at Teatro do Bairro Alto, in a format and configuration to be defined.
In parallel to this continuous research, instigated and mediated by Márcia and Carolina (but developed in a self-organized manner by the course’s participants), we will have the participation of some invited collectives that will function as “case studies” by sharing their practices, experiences and questions regarding collaborative creation. Firstly we will welcome João dos Santos Martins with the project Companhia (Company), created in a collective manner in 2018 (by the same group that created the “Projecto continuado” in 2015). The project focuses on the term “company”, simultaneously referring to the idea of a dance company, the company of other people and the notion of collective and interdependency that exists in the community experience. Secondly we’ll have the Hormigonera project – meaning concrete mixer in english -, a collaborative creation practice that researches dramaturgical processes and alternative modes of collaboration. It is driven by a group of Uruguayan artists working in the languages of space, matter, light and sound to invoke performative action with the aim of giving a voice to “poor” and “marginal” materials and putting themselves, as artists, in service of their agency. Lastly, we will have the catalan collective Orquestina de Pigmeos, that operates between performance, sound and cinema, working mostly in site-specific environments in close proximity with local communities. Finally in this bloc we’ll also have the participation of David-Alexandre Guéniot, director of the publishing company GHOST, who will develop a project with the participants that will culminate in an artist(s) book produced in a collective manner.